Fatal Neglect Alleged at NH Home for Disabled

     CONCORD, N.H. (CN) – Before a series of abuse reports caused it to shut its doors, a New Hampshire home for people with disabilities left a man to die naked in a pool of urine, his estate claims in court.
     Linda Anderson filed the 12-page complaint late last month as administratrix of the estate of Kory Horion, a 22-year-old who “was in a state of metabolic starvation when he died on September 23, 2012, lying naked, on the floor, unattended, in a pool of his own urine.”
     “It took only 72 days of neglect for Lakeview Neurorehabilitation Center to kill” Horion, the complaint filed in Merrimack County Superior Court states.
     Anderson says three employees of the 88-bed residential facility in Effingham had witnessed Horion’s predicament on the morning of his death but did nothing to help.
     The first employee saw the urine-soaked young man lying on the floor at 5 a.m., according to the complaint. Anderson says several other employers walked right by Horion over the next few hours, but a nurse noticed at 9 a.m. that the man’s lips were blue and that he was not breathing.
     Horion, who had Asperger’s syndrome, developmental disabilities and a seizure disorder, was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital where the Lakeview sent him.
     Anderson notes that the resident had been managing successfully before what was supposed to a short-term stay at Lakeview.
     During those 72 days he was there, however, the 6-foot-4 man lost 50 lbs., according to the complaint.
     Anderson says the man’s family was never informed that he was refusing food and medication, or that he had been attacked and bitten by another resident.
     In fact, Lakeview wrote to the family that Horion was “adjusting well to his residential setting,” according to the complaint.
     A damning investigation on Lakeview that the Disability Rights Center published last year slammed state inspectors for failing to spot signs of abuse in the short-term treatment center for people with disabilities and traumatic brain injuries.
     At the time, Lakeview was chronically understaffed by employees who make less than fast-food workers.
     The reports led New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan to shut down new admissions last fall, and the Department of Education closed Lakeview’s Special Education school in April.
     As recently as June, however, a male resident was arrested on charges that he raped another male resident while the staff on duty slept.
     Gov. Hassan ordered a review of how the Department of Health and Human Services regulated Lakeview, and this study found that the Health Facilities Licensing Unit concealed negative findings of Lakeview by its poorly trained inspectors.
     The governor is now working to better fund the understaffed licensing unit.
     Other states connected to residents of Lakeview have expressed concern as well.
     In 2014 the New York Justice Center alerted New Hampshire’s Department of Health and Human Services that Lakeview was not reporting abuse by staff and charging for services it didn’t provide. This year the state of Maine pulled all of its residents from Lakeview.
     After Lakeview submitted a 55-page plan of correction, New Hampshire agreed in February to let the facility stay open.
     The CEO decided this spring, however, that the closure of its special education school and the state’s moratorium on new residents made it economically impossible for the residential center to continue operating. Lakeview Systems facilities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin remain open.
     Horion’s estate is represented by Kirk Simoneau with Nixon Vogelman Barry in Manchaster.
     The complaint names as defendants Lakeview, parent company Lakeview Systems and medical director Dennis Badman.
     Neither Simoneau nor Lakeview have returned requests for comment.

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